Journey to: The House of Love

Some will already know this. For others it will be a surprise.

I have recently relocated from Perth, WA to Melbourne, VIC.

I won't go into the myriad of reasons why I felt this necessary but basically I felt as if I was hitting a glass ceiling in what I was doing professionally as well as looking for a change in scenery and some fresh challenges.

With the sale of the family home, it was pretty much perfect timing as I'd have to be packed and moving anyway. So if I was going to be moving, why not make it a big move?

So, after much stress and a few late nights, I managed to compress most of the necessary clothes and work equipment in a suitcase, backpack and laptop bag. Looking at it all now I don't think I took any personal belongings, bar my cameras and a few pictures / polaroids of my family. Probably a little depressing if I look at that too closely. I always said I wanted to be able to pack up my life at the drop of a hat. Guess I've managed that!

But anyway, the journey east began at 4am on a cold April morning as I dragged myself out of my favourite bed one last time for what could possibly be the last decent showered I'd ever know. I don't know who was more nervous as my mother gave me a lift to the airport, her or I.

After much talking and several last hugs (hey, it's my mum so no judgement) I took one last image of the woman who raised me, and we walked together all the way to the ticket scanner before I left her side.  

 Walking down the gangway and not looking back (If I looked back I think there would have been tears) was one of the hardest things I've done. Even knowing I'd see her again.

Walking down the gangway and not looking back (If I looked back I think there would have been tears) was one of the hardest things I've done. Even knowing I'd see her again.

The flight was long and slightly uncomfortable due to lack of sleep, but I amused myself by watching 'Kingsman: The Golden Circle" and by trying not to cry over the farewell 'Do Not Open until you are on The Plane' letter I'd been given.

Landing at Melbourne, Tullamarine I was met by my old friend (and soon to be roommate) Drue, Penny (the other roommate) and Chelsea (Drue's Partner). The only thing that made me feel more at home than Drue's typically hilarious Hawaiian dress shirt was the massive smile that lit up his face upon seeing me. Introductions were made as we waited for my giant suitcase, and then we were off to my new home in what Drue had dubbed in a previous conversation, 'The House of Love'.

 Our Feline Ruler of The House of Love, Rufio. When not reminding his subjects of his constant need for feeding, he enjoys lounging in one of his many thrones, sprinting through the house, chasing twist-ties, and attacking the feet of whoever has just left the bathroom.

Our Feline Ruler of The House of Love, Rufio. When not reminding his subjects of his constant need for feeding, he enjoys lounging in one of his many thrones, sprinting through the house, chasing twist-ties, and attacking the feet of whoever has just left the bathroom.

Basically spent the first day/night getting to know Penny and Chelsea, eating take out and then hanging out at the arcade bar where Drue works. Bunked down on my leaky air mattress in the tiny backyard bungalow and that was that.

Day Two was a slow start after a restless night but I Ubered into Fitzroy with Drue on his way to work, and did some wandering around whilst scouting possible locations for portraits and fashion photography (interspersed with some street photography as well).

Click on the images to enlarge.

Day Three meant several important things. I had to learn the bus route into town. I needed to really feel like I'd made it to Melbourne (don't ask why but I felt like if I didn't go into the City and really sink into my brain that I'd move, I might have been too complacent to really make a go of it.) I needed to prove to myself that there was no taking it back.

Day Four was Ikea day. After three nights on an air mattress I knew I needed a real bed. So Penny and I made the drive out to Ikea in a little red hatchback (thanks Penny), and I made my first ever furniture purchase (a bed, desk and mattress). The less we talk about the horror that is Ikea's pre-fab "DIY" furniture, the better. But rest assured that I now have a fully assembled and useable bed and desk. Feels nice to be off the floor.

Day Five was the moment when I caught myself thinking "shit I've been here 5 days and I've only been into town photographing once"

So off I went.
Despite the constant drizzle and wind I got a whole bunch of street shots I was super happy with.

I'll break the images into three parts to make it easier.

Part one is from a little spot on Elizabeth St where I tucked my self out of the wind and ambushed strangers walking by;

I love to frame my street series around a specific location and then simply photograph those who enter the scene. I took around 100 photographs standing in this position, just letting people walk past and into the frame. Some noticed me at the instant of being photographed and some did not. The range of expressions from unguarded, to stressed, to wary, in a hurry, tired and depressed play out a thousand different stories. If you like to see the full series in order you can do so HERE. I'll also be giving away a free portrait session in the CBD (valued at $200) to the first person who ever can correctly point out one of the scenes that play out within the series of images. 

The second spot I spent a fair amount of time was Centre Place. Tucked into the corner of a building across from Centro Espresso Caffe, I was able to use this beautiful shaft of light that was coming in from between the surrounding high-rises to dump the shadows around my subjects and create a sense of isolation for my subjects.

I will definitely be returning to this spot in order to take advantage of the beautiful light soon.

The third segment of images from Day Five are a few of my favourite captures from simply walking around;

Days Six & Seven are my first weekend at The House and have mostly been spent killing spiders, enjoying sleeping in and of course creating this article blog post (which I hope you've enjoyed).

Shameless Photography Plug

To help me continue funding both this blog and my on-going photography journey, all images featured in this article (excluding any featuring children) are available to purchase as prints!
If you would like to do so please email me at ben@benjaminodea.com and let me know which image(s) you'd like!